New letter in science urges kelp forest protection
This week, COS co-director Fio Micheli published a letter in Science, in collaboration with a number of other leading kelp forest ecology and climate researchers from around the world. Their piece urged the global community to recognize the importance that kelp forests — an iconic California marine ecosystem — play as early indicators of the detrimental effects of climate change.
The authors emphasized the role of marine heat waves that overwhelmed the Northwestern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2016 in turning the once biodiverse and healthy kelp forests of California and Baja Mexico into “sea urchin barrens”. They then urged global leaders to move forward on international agreements regarding CO2 emissions and government responses to local threats, like increased winter storms and pollution.
“Increased human capacity will also be needed to halt and reverse the ongoing rapid loss of ecosystems and their services to people," stated the letter's authors.